I have a shoe problem, as you might have guessed from my posts about stepping in fresh concrete with my first pair of real shoes, the ever evolving saga of the Elf Boots , or my post about singing with my feet. I always have had a shoe problem. I can put together a really great outfit and singlehandedly…(singlefootedly?) ruin it with my choice of footwear.
Lucidity is a virtue
I recently saw a re-broadcast of a concert I sang back in 2017. At first, I was like… “Wow. I look so cute! My hair looks so good! I had a baby that year, but wow! Go me!”
And then, cut to a full-body shot in which featured my feet. And I groaned internally. “How is it possible that I walked out the door like that?”
They were red leather maryjanes, absolutely gorgeous shoes which I had worn proudly for ten years but never once seen in a photo. I cannot count the number of times I have performed in those shoes.
Ugh. The length of my dress didn’t help, nor the fact that I was wearing sturdy, extremely matte nude colored compression stockings (pregnancy lifesavers!). I don’t tend to over-criticize myself, but in this case, lucidity is a virtue. I could have lived in blissful ignorance that even my favorite red maryjanes were problematic, but here we are.
Cue BonJovi: Living on One Pair!
The only extended period during which I didn’t experience this shoe disappointment was during our lockdown last year, when, for some reason which still escapes me, I decided to wear a pair of super comfortable, super cute wedge-heeled sandals all day everyday.
As I have written in a previous post, I aced pandemic dressing during lockdown. I woke up every morning, put on a pretty dress, did my hair and makeup and acted like, more than ever before, everything was perfectly normal. It was a costume I put on everyday, thinking it was for my family’s benefit, but in all honesty, I now wonder if I didn’t do it to keep myself sane.
Long story longer, in August of last year I gave in to a fashion trend and bought myself a pair of white Adidas sneakers and have worn more than 100 times since.
During the drier, not-boot worthy weather, these shoes were a welcome addition to the Pantheon, because they never left me feeling frumpy. I wore them with dresses and jeans and everything in between (including fluffy petticoats).
Sure, I have other sneakers. I have running shoes and a pair of turquoise New Balance that are chef’s kiss. But these are my white Adidas, which serve to elevate almost every single outfit in a pinch.
And now they are wearing out.
So, here comes my question: how many pairs of shoes do I really need? I mean, if in six months I wore these shoes more than 100 times, and with few exceptions, the other shoes I wore left me feeling un-put-together, what am I doing owning other shoes, or at least, other casual everyday shoes? What good are theoretically chef’s kiss turquoise New Balance if every time I wear them I feel silly and frumpy?
Embrace the Frump
I am a user-upper. I love to get down to the dregs of a beauty product, I love to add water to my dishsoap to get the very last bit at the end. I will wear a t-shirt I love until it is unintentionally and unevenly lacy with holes.
I realize that in my life I have worn out precious few shoes. My Elf Boots were the first time in a long time (the time before that was a pair of Converse All Stars) I loved a pair so much that they become unwearable.
I hate seeing things go unused. I feel guilty when I open my shoe bin and see so many unworn shoes. It feels like such a waste to me. So as I walk into the third month of my challenge, I am setting before me the goal of wearing out as many things as possible this year. The things I don’t really love. The things that make me feel frumpy. Ten months to use it all up, finish it all off. It will be a whole year of standing in front of the closet with pursed lips choosing the things I want to see gone by this time next year. And by gone, I mean USED UP.
It means ten months of Embracing the Frump. It means over the course of the next ten months, I get to figure out what I actually really love, so that I can make an investment next year. Hopefully by next year, I will have found my sweet spot; the elusive Venn Diagram of what makes me reliably feel great, reliably look great and is affordable.
I can do ten months.